Gillyfoyle is the name Joann and I have given our sailboat, a Halman 20. Compact and sturdy, it has everything inside required for comfort except room to stand up. We have had some adventures in it, and plan to have many more, but there is another reason for giving it's name to this blog.
While searching for a name for our boat, I remembered a story I read as a teenager about a space traveler who, in a moment of crisis, accidently discovers a way to travel instantly to places he has never been by imagining his destination and desiring to go there. His name, I thought, was something like "Gilly Foyle." An internet search ensued... Alfred Bester's 1956 classic "The Stars My Destination" told the story of Gulliver Foyle, 'Gully Foyle' for short.
Oh, Gully, not Gilly... So much for that idea. But the name wouldn't go away. In the end, we came back to it and made it our own. Accidents...
In 1969, during the height of the war in Viet Nam, when I was 18 years old and fresh out of high school, I joined the Army. One year later, with my military training behind me, instead of going anywhere near Southeast Asia, I was glad to find myself at an army base on the outskirts of Schwabach, a small town near Nuremberg, Germany. In my high school yearbook, under the picture of a geeky-looking senior with thick, black-framed glasses, was the line, "PLANS TO TOUR GERMANY." It was just a vague notion to reconnect with my roots - I didn't know I would really get there, and so soon after graduation! The next Christmas I was sitting in Munich's famed Hofbrauhaus sucking down liters of draft beer, reconnecting with my draft beer roots, accompanied by several hundred other beer suckers, stein-toting Bavarian maidens (as I prefer to remember them), and an Oompah band.
By the time my tour was over, so was the war, and I returned to Washington state to resume my civilian life. It would be 30 years, a family, and several career changes before I would find myself leaving the US again ...
I began working overseas on embassy construction jobs in 2003. I really started in late 2001, going through the process of getting the required security clearance.
Wow, I can get a security clearance?!
After a couple false starts, one of which had me slated to go to Havana, Cuba, I finally boarded a plane for Beijing, China, and my first overseas job. I have enjoyed almost every minute of it since then.
I started writing down some of my experiences and emailing them, with pictures, to family and friends. I hope to gather up these earlier posts, and along with current writings and photos, put them all together here.